Security Through Obscurity is a Bad Idea

Prettypicture
Digg, a popular social networking site where alpha geeks vote up or down stories, is having an issue today. Specifically the "users" are voting up stories that link to the codes to unlock HD-DVD videos. This code, no longer secure of course, allows people to copy the full resolution of purchased HD content. Once unlocked they can be shared across pirate bay or whatever.

So the codes are out there and digg needs to stop deleting content that mention them. What IS funny is that the top story on digg as I write this has a simple link to an image. A pretty picture. The picture at the top left. It only makes sense (to a geek) by also referencing this image which provides the translation.

Take aways? First – don’t fight a mob with censorship when they are busy copying and pasting content. You ain’t gonna win that battle. Second – rethink the whole "security through obscurity" idea. It doesn’t work long term.

For more on this particular story, try this post on Digg fights user revolt over HD-DVD ban. And a definite shout out to dsilverman for the twitter heads up!

Vudu – Won’t Make It

And speaking of video we have another video start up called vudu as written up in the NYT. However, like many Americans when the ad copy uses the word "revolutionary" or "premium" my BS filter goes off. In this case Vudu states it is:

VUDU is a revolutionary new product that will transform the way you get
and watch movies. VUDU is instantaneous””no more driving to the video
store…

and then with a layout like joost they continue

All you need is the VUDU box, a TV, a broadband Internet connection, and a love of movies.

As observed on GigaOM, the problem is the cable operators already have a box in every home. And the satellite folks have a DVR in every home. And joost is doing peer to peer movie distribution. So what is revolutionary about Vudu? Well, nothing as far as I can tell.

I shouldn’t be so hard on them for that opening sentence, but if that is the mind set then they aren’t long for this world.